Best Apple MDM solutions
It used to be that every computer in a company or office was a Windows-based machine. Many were clunky desktops that kept us chained to our desks. But those days are long gone now. There’s a growing number of Apple devices in enterprise environments. A majority of them are mobile — an iPhone, an iPad, different MacBooks, and even Apple TVs.
This switch in not just platform but also portability has presented a suite of issues for many IT teams. How do you push software installations and patch updates if the computer isn’t on your network? Or how do you simply keep track of all of your assets and devices? What if somebody wants to use their own device? How do you keep the company data safe?
There are a lot of questions, but the answer is simply MDM, and that stands for Mobile Device Management. Keep on reading, and I’ll explain what that is and give you the top seven Apple MDM solutions.
What is an MDM solution?
Initially, the architecture for mobile device management, or MDM, was introduced in iOS devices. Given that iPhones are entirely portable, Apple recognized that enterprise users would need to limit certain apps or tighten controls of specific features.
But, over time, Apple was able to include MDMs in iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS. All of this makes managing their products easier for IT teams everywhere.
The best thing about any Apple MDM solution is that it provides tools for IT team professionals to deploy all of the Apple devices in bulk as well as enroll new devices and manage them as needed. Some of the most common operations performed include the distribution of applications, enforcement of security configurations, and controlling content shared over apps.
As you read earlier, you’ll get the top seven MDM solutions for Apple, but here are the ones topping that list.
Powerful MDM solution for Apple devices.
Easy-to-use Apple MDM solution.
VMWare Workspace One
MDM solution for Apple, Windows, and Android.
What is the best MDM for Apple?
When you evaluate MDM solutions, just like any other software for your company, you should audit every team’s needs and keep those in mind as you read the list below. Just because a service is ranked higher than another here doesn’t mean that it’s the right answer for you.
Here’s a list of a few questions to get you started on your search for an Apple MDM solution:
- Does it need to be cloud-based or on-premises?
- Should it be cross-platform to support macOS and Windows?
- Will you be enrolling just computers or phones and tablets, too?
- Do you allow users to bring in their own devices?
- Is integrating with third-party apps and services needed? If yes, which ones are necessary?
Top 7 MDM solutions for Apple
Once you have some of those answers to questions above, you can start your search. As you look into each option, they’ll have new features that you didn’t realize you’d want or need. Keep those in your back pocket, but it’s easy to get scope creep with projects like this. Don’t let those new features become deal breakers and steer your search in a completely different direction.
Jamf is one of the most popular MDM tools available for the Apple ecosystem, and for a good reason. It was originally created as a remote desktop management system allowing IT teams to push software and updates to Macs in the enterprise environment. But as Apple has begun developing the MDM architecture, Jamf has included support for it as well, along with iOS and iPadOS products.
When you deploy Jamf, you’re obviously getting an incredibly powerful MDM tool, along with remote management for your environment. That being said, if this is your first foray into anything like this, then be prepared for a steep learning curve. It can feel intimidating to set up and roll out. However, over time, you’ll have an efficient and streamlined workflow to manage Apple devices at your company.
Learn more about Jamf.
Another, Apple-only tool is Kandji. This platform supports almost every Apple product, including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS.
As a counter to Jamf, Kandji makes it really easy for new users to spin up their tool. In fact, they claim you could even be ready to roll out in a matter of minutes. The thing that sets Kandji apart from a lot of other services on this list is that it’s mostly template, or blueprint, based. This means you can run scripts and workflows from their library of templates, and so there’s less of a need to know how to script things for every step. On the flip side of that, it does mean you have less granular control.
Learn more about Kandji.
3. VMWare Workspace One
If you’re looking for something that is cross-platform, then you’ll want to check out VMWare Workspace. It offers a lot of the same features as Jamf and Kandji, but with the exception that it will work with almost any operating system.
The tool was created with the goal of helping you manage any app on any device. This is really convenient for companies that have a bring-your-own-device policy since you’re not limited to just Apple devices. Employees are able to truly bring in their device, whatever it may be.
Find out more about VMWare Workspace One.
4. Hexnode UEM
Hexnode Unified Endpoint Management, or UEM, boasts easy-to-use and user-friendly enrollment options for your devices. Knowing that some environments have mixed assets — company-owned and personal — Hexnode gives IT teams the flexibility they need to support all of them. Plus, it provides you with better control of the entire product lifecycle, especially if you have remote users that need to have their equipment shipped out to them.
Hexnode is another Apple-only tool and currently supports macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS.
Learn more about Hexnode UEM.
Let’s face it, device management can get confusing and convoluted fast. SureMDM has set out to solve that problem with a more simplified approach. The cross-platform tool lets you manage any device all from its user-friendly web app. So, all you need is your web browser, and then you’re in business. Since it can be accessed only from the browser, that does mean it’s a limited cloud-based tool. But that may be all you need to make sure your devices are following your policies and your data is secure.
Find out more about SureMDM.
6. IBM Security MaaS360
Going with a solution from a large company like IBM sometimes comes with its perks. The Security MaaS360 tool is packed with the power of IBM’s AI, Watson. So, not only do you get a lot of similar features offered by some of these other platforms, but you also enjoy rich analytics and intuitive scripts, thanks to Watson.
Reports online claim that the setup for Security MaaS360 can be a bit difficult. Others even go as far as saying that you can’t do it without the help of IBM.
Check out IBM Security MaaS360.
As far as you seek tools that can help you monitor activity, you won’t want to miss out on Scalefusion. This Apple mobile device management (MDM) solution makes security a priority and puts visibility features front and center in its app. But don’t think this means it is just for corporate-owned devices. Scalefusion also gives you granular control. This way, you can modify settings for bring-your-own devices so that you’re not invading your employee’s privacy while making sure your company’s data is secure.
Learn more about Scalefusion.
Mobile device management has really made it easier for IT teams to implement security policies and lock down applications and data. Figuring out how you want to support your devices could help inform your business’s overall technology architecture and ecosystem.
Remember that just because you read about an Apple MDM solution on here, it doesn’t automatically mean it is the best option for your team and your company. Taking the time to do this exploration can save you a ton of time and headaches. There’s nothing worse than having to fix a project midstream or even immediately after it’s wrapped because it simply will not work in your environment. Not to mention the thousands of dollars a mistake like that could end up costing you.
Take the time, do your research, and even run demos of the software that come as Apple free MDM to see what else you’ll need to implement a mobile device management platform. Whether it be in upgrading equipment or time and resources to learn how to use it, there’s always an additional cost to getting one of these solutions rolled out. But, hopefully, this list gives you a good headstart on your research, and one of these, if not more, will work for you.